Today I had to recover a machine from a disastrous power failure (yes, I had a UPS but it didn't manage :P).
The results was as usual:

Kernel panic: Not syncing!!
/sbin/init not found

Doesn't sound nice, does it? It wasn't. My whole /lib was gone...
I had to boot with root mounted to my disk (which I failed with, because /bin/bash was not working, but that's another story), and I didn't have a CD, so I had to create a bootable USB key.
Unfortunately all articles on Debian Live and stuff didn't work.. so.. here is how it worked for me in two simple steps.

The prerequisites are:

Now that you have everything:

  1. unpack your boot.img.gz.
  2. copy it to your usb stick with dd, like this:
  3.  dd if=boot.img of=\.\g: bs=512k
  4. copy netinst.iso to your USB stick ( via ordinary windows explorer )

That's it. Now you should have a working bootable Debian USB stick. Remeber to change the boot order in your BIOS after plugging in the stick!